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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sandwiches: Culinary Trend Mapping Report

Sandwiches─with their universal appeal, limitless versatility and attractive price-points─are bucking the recession and proving to be the country’s most resilient food category. The sandwich form itself is infinitely variable and delightfully portable: a sandwich can be simple or complex, everyday or gourmet, healthy or indulgent, hot or cold, and even sweet as well as savory. It remains one of the most approachable, friendly and relevant foods across all consumer groups. In short, sandwiches aren’t just an important part of the American diet: they are essential to it.


 
But like most food categories today, this much beloved staple has undergone an exciting 21st-century transformation. Classic sandwiches are getting ingredient upgrades on every level - carrier, fillings and condiments. These upgrades could be from artisan, local or sustainable ingredients, reflecting a chef ’s touch or a regional flavor profile. Creative sandwich makers are also tweaking the form for flavor adventure, adding global touches and bursts of exoticism with new international breads, attention-grabbing fillings, and spicy sauces. Some sandwiches are even solving consumers’ quandaries over healthful eating by offering more nutritious components in appropriate portion sizes, yet still satisfying with layers of mouthwatering flavor.


This report examines today’s emerging sandwich trends and offer strategic ideas on how to put new spins on a classic and import creative concepts for new marketing opportunities.


Here’s what’s on the menu:

  • The “Fine Fast” Sandwich Shop: These gourmet sandwich shops feature high-quality, artisan and locally sourced ingredients and a wide range of house-made condiments and toppings.
  • The Asian Sandwich Invasion: Bao (a Taiwanese pork-based sandwich, served on a steamed bun) and banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich featuring grilled meat or paté served on a French roll) perfectly marry the familiar with sandwich versions new to Americans.
  • The Reinvented Jewish Deli: Concerns about the dwindling numbers of traditional Jewish delis have led to a new spin on an old favorite that’s more “sustainable, affordable and ethical.”
  • Glamorous Grilled Cheese: This nostalgic favorite is being upgraded to appeal to more sophisticated consumer tastes with freshly baked specialty bread, artisan cheese and a multitude of toppings.
  • The Great Sandwich Shop Takeover: Some sandwich shop chains are innovating on the sandwich form, offering more healthful options, global flavor profiles and local sourcing of ingredients.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich: This long-standing North Carolina barbecue favorite is getting national attention. While its flavor profile is new to many, it evokes the South and aligns nicely with America’s current devotion to pork.
  • Better Burgers: Americans love burgers but are ready for a quality upgrade that still maintains a good value. This means adding various types of exotic toppings, using grass-fed or locally sourced beef, home-made or heartier buns—or all of the above.
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